VMI Professor with a PhD in politics considering replacing Bob Goodlatte in Virginia's 6th.  If there's sufficient interest, potentially interested in running in order to provide smart, data driven solutions to America's domestic challenges combined with expertise in international politics to help guide our country through increasingly treacherous international waters.

Issues:

Gerrymandering - Social science tools render the traditional partisan gerrymandering process outdated and inefficient.  Districts should be created based solely on geography and population, not partisanship.  The results would be, on balance, more responsive legislators, more competitive races, and more citizen input.

Social Issues - I, and the government, should not be in the business of telling you what you should or should not be allowed to do to yourself or with consenting other adults if your actions don't harm others.  You do you.

Foreign Policy - Restore to Congress the war declaration power explicitly granted to it by the Constitution.  Protect America's security interests by preserving the stability of the international system that we lead.  Stay out of internal conflicts and other nation's politics where our interventions create instability rather than peace, as has so often been the case in the Middle East.  As Jefferson put it, "peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations".

Criminal Justice Reform - The United States has a higher percentage of its citizens incarcerated than any country in the world, and that includes authoritarian regimes like Iran and Russia.  In Rockbridge County, for example, while the population has only risen ~20% in the past 20 years, the prison population has more than doubled.  This is not due to spread of immoral behavior, but a broken criminal justice system.  I stand with Republicans like Rand Paul in demanding reform to an incarceration system that targets poor, young, disproportionately African American men for non-violent offences.  We can and must do better.

Taxes - The Republican tax bill has some good qualities - the simplification and reduction in the tax brackets along with doubling the standard deduction will reduce the tax burden for many Americans.  However, it too hastily eliminated important deductions and targeted higher education.  The K-12 teacher deduction, for example, should be cut, but only if replaced by a tax credit of double the value to result in a full reimbursement of educational expenses, instead of the partial reimbursement in current tax law or the elimination under the proposed law.  Similarly, non-profit university endowments should not be taxed, as they go to pay for scholarships for students, nor should graduate student waivers and stipends.  To do so disincentives education and limits educational opportunities to the wealthy.  Finally, any tax cut must be contingent upon a corresponding reduction in expenditures.  Reducing revenue without reducing expenditures is fiscally irresponsible.


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  • endorsed

    “He knows more about politics than me.”

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    “I support Patrick Rhamey because gerrymandering is the root cause of so many of our current political problems.”

November 21, 2017

Not Running

Alright, as a result of your standard “challenge accepted” scenario, I decided to put together the simple exploration of running for Congress that I did. I was pretty sure it would tap out at about $200. Now that we’ve crossed $80k in “pledges” (people saying online and off that they’ll give X if I run), it’s time to put a lid on this. I’m not going to run. Here are a few thoughts I had from this process that I’ll likely fill out as I go:

1) Once we crossed 20k I started thinking seriously about this. Shocked by the response, I began thinking about what it would be like to campaign and perhaps win. After attending the four hour 6th district Republican meeting on Saturday, I came home, watched football, and took a nap with my daughter on the couch. My kids are little, and I don’t want to miss it spending all my free time running for Congress and meeting with Republicans, much less actually being in Congress.

2) The fact that I pulled together 80k in pledges in just a little over a week indicates there’s enormous dissatisfaction and a lack of leadership in our district. I hope someone else enters the race (anyone I could persuade to do it?).

3) All signs point to the Republicans choosing one of the far more restrictive nomination processes (caucus, convention). Without an open primary that allows for independents and crossover democrats, my chances are much lower, particularly running on an anti-Trump platform.

4) In light of the preceeding point, some people have suggested that if I’m a relative moderate, why not run as a Democrat? It would potentially be less challenging to win the nomination. However, a Democrat won’t win the sixth district. The Democrats could nominate resurrected FDR and still lose by 20 points in this district. Who the candidate is doesn’t matter.

5) Crowdpac is a very cool tool. Playing with the site was much of my motivation in trying this out. Props to Adam Bonica at Stanford for helping to put it together. I’m imagining though that the data generated from my pledges isn’t going to help better identify candidate’s ideologies!

6) Maybe next time.

Best of luck to Cline, Coppola, Dunbar, Volosin, and whoever else enters the race. Hopefully the person with the best ideas wins.

November 19, 2017

Republicans!

I attended the 6th Congressional District Republican Committee Meeting yesterday. Everyone was very welcoming. They will decide the method of nomination for the congressional seat at their January 6th meeting in Natural Bridge Station. Open primary, caucus, or convention. Sadly, though they've been doing an open primary for a long time now, they probably won't this time.

Keep up the pledges and shares. @ ~71k counting offline pledges.

November 12, 2017

Good Start

That started out much stronger than I anticipated.  If you're interested in seeing me run, please share the page on social media.  It will take a lot of pledges, interest, and awareness to make this a possibility given how well-established and well-funded the current declared candidates are.

November 10, 2017

Campaign created!

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